Review – For Honor: More like dishonorable discharge….

Review – For Honor: More like dishonorable discharge….

So after coming down from the high that was Nioh, I decided to dive right back into some sword swinging action with For Honor.

I was looking for something short to play to kill some time before Horizon: Zero Dawn arrives next Tuesday.

What I ended up with sadly was a major disappointment and still 3 days left to kill.

I am a rather big fan of Ubisoft, there are very few titles of theirs that I don’t play, and I know a lot of gamers take issue with them and their annual AC releases, and other misses like Watchdogs 1 (which I think I am the only person who liked it)

So snagging For Honor was kind of a no brainer as I can typically find some merit in most of their stuff.

Sadly though there was little merit to find in For Honor.

Ubisoft has this weird ability to come up with an awesome concept, and then just drop the ball in the  execution. Then they come back in 5 years (ala Watchdogs 2) and knock it out of the park.

For Honor feels like one of those games.

While the concept is amazing, real sword dueling simulation, in a very new intuitive way. What you get though is buggy and laggy controls that make for a very frustrating experience.

The combat works in kind of a rock, paper, scissor fashion. Where you have 3 stances, weapon to the left, right and top, and based on where you hold your sword, you attack, or parry. Not too dissimilar to Nioh, just with much worse execution.

This is the real downfall of For Honor, the controls are meant to be fast, as opponents strike quickly with hits from all 3 angles, and block you accordingly, but what happens is that when an opponent gets on a roll, they are much faster than can be blocked. This does not mean their attacks are unblockable, but if you miss that first parry, you can be struck 4-5 times in a row, often ending in a pretty weak death if you have 75% hp or less.

One saving grace is at least the reloads are fast, but they can be frustrating in some levels. You have checkpoints and some of them can be a bit of a ways out from the boss fight you were just doing, so dying gets to be a bit tedious.

Now I tend to play all my games on the hardest setting available, which in this case is Realistic. Now while not insurmountably hard, the biggest pain with this setting is there are zero checkpoints, so if you die, you go all the way back to the start of the level.

This is pretty rough, I ended up taking the difficulty down to just hard after the 10th death on the 1st level boss, and having to redo the 15 min mission to get back to him again.

There also appears to be a huge disparity in difficulty levels.

I had some crashing issues on the last level, where I was 3/4 done and the game just crashes and sends you back to the PS4 menu, thus having to start the mission 100% over, checkpoints are not saved if you close the game.

So in getting tired of redoing things on hard, I dropped it to normal out of sheer frustration.

Well the difference here is normal proves little to no challenge at all. Where an enemy could hit you for 1/4 of your HP in hard, they now take of maybe 1/10 max. And the AI goes out the window, with most enemies just standing there waiting for you to hit them.

So if you want any semblance of challenge, definitely go Hard mode, the difficulty is a huge jump from Normal. I also recommend turning off the indicator on where an enemy is holding his sword and attacking from, this added a lot to the experience as well, forcing you to pay attention to their movements and hand position, just another way to make things a bit more fun and challenging.

The game itself looked absolutely stunning on the PS4 Pro, things are crisp and clear and there is a ton of detail in the environment.

Sound was decent, but the voice acting for some character seems phoned in, particularly the female Viking, it really sounded like her first time voice acting and really took away from the experience. It was almost comical how bad it was.

The story itself topped out at OK. Nothing to write home about, and it was pretty predictable all told. The main villain seemed a bit too cliche, acting as a female Ares, a goddess of War.

Story mode came in at 7h 32min to beat, which is pretty dang short.

I know the reasoning behind this was because they focused heavily on the multiplayer aspect, something of which I cannot comment as I avoided it 100%

I have read nothing but bad things about it, and decided to skip it entirely.

From server issues, to really lousy sportsmanship, to just plain crappy tactics, what could have been a truly outstanding multiplayer game, becomes a real lousy experience all around.

Speaking of server issues, something to note.

Do not put your console to sleep in the middle of a mission.

The single player game for some ungodly reason requires a connection to Ubisoft’s servers as well. So the moment it interrupted, you will be kicked out of your story chapter back to the main menu.

If you sleep the console, this happens automatically and you will have to start the chapter over from scratch. So try and quit once you finish a mission.

The chapters themselves are not terribly long, most are 10-15 mins each. There is a total of 18 chapters, 6 per faction, Knights, Vikings and Samurai. There are a couple though that push the 45 min to an hour mark, so just be wary you could be set back should you have to leave suddenly.

All in all a rather disappointing game, that we will hopefully see an amazing sequel to in the years to come.

But for now, I would suggest passing on For Honor, or the very least wait til it hits the bargain bin.

A thoroughly mediocre 6/10



Review – Nioh: More like Ni-Oh-My-God this game is amazing!

Review – Nioh: More like Ni-Oh-My-God this game is amazing!

So I picked up a title unexpectedly a couple weeks ago.

Nioh popped up on my radar briefly at the PSX show in December, the developer took the stage to talk about his title, and when asked how long it was, he casually said to do the story and some side quest, like 70+ hours, oh, and this is a “Dark Souls” like game in difficult, and plays a lot like Ninja Gaiden with a splash of Onimusha tossed in.

I was instantly sold, but due to length, I was going to pick it up later in the year.

Well reading a few stellar reviews on other site, I decided to jump in an man am I glad I did.

I just finished my play-through, which consisted of 100% of the side missions and 100% story and it clocked in a total of 68h 23m.

I didn’t manage to finish all the Dojo challenge missions, or more than 2 Twilight missions, so there is still a good 10+ hrs of content left.

On top of that, a NG+ mode unlocks post game, where the original story missions from the first 3 regions are now in uber hard mode, but have very big rewards too.

So needless to day, there is likely 80-100 hrs of content available day one, with the dev promising a new difficulty mode coming soon as well.

The game play is similar in spirit to Dark Souls or Bloodborne, you have to be good at this game to succeed, and you will die… A LOT. I am no slouch when it comes to hard mode, and I still manage to clock in over 200 deaths start to finish.

Something in the way of a surprise with Nioh is how fast paced it is, I love Dark Souls, but those games tend to be a lot slower and more calculated. Where Nioh is a very twitch based game, but requires a great amount of skill to proceed.

As the game progresses you will get better, not stronger. While armor and weapons increase your damage, the monsters you fight are on the same sliding scale, so things you fought as  mid level bosses in stage 1, will be run of the mill enemies by the end of the game.

As levels progress the challenge not only revolves around the enemies you fight, but the environment as well. Take a large Armita Fiend in an open area and you can usually dodge your way to success, but put him in a cramped hallway and the game changes completely.

This is the beauty of Nioh, it is ever changing and evolving from start to finish, with not a single of the games 20+ story missions having the same level. And every single level offering a very unique experience or location. From a flotilla like village with water graves and broken ships everywhere, to mansions in Kyoto or the bloodied battlefield with hundreds of soldiers fighting in the background.

Variety is something  I did not expect from Nioh but was thrilled to find it. There is no fetch quests, no doubling back to cheaply fill out a level, this game is large and very well designed.

The side quest offer smaller snips of the larger levels, and oft explore some areas you never saw in the main mission, That mansion you explored may have a back garden you could not reach, in a side mission you may begin in the house proper, but go out a door that was previously locked. So even most of the side mission feel substantial.

The leveling system is also akin to the “Souls” games, in the fact that you gain experience (Armita) by killing enemies or searching bodies and Soul Stones.

If you are bested in battle, your guardian spirit lays in wait for you to return and collect it and the souls you dropped, but die again, and you will lose all you have collected forever.

This adds a real challenge to every confrontation, you can cash in your souls at a shrine strewn about the levels, and touching one gives you a place to respawn, but the cost is that all enemies you have killed thus far will respawn as well.

So the game is a constant balance of should I spent my souls and level up, or chance making it to the next Shrine and maybe losing everything I have done thus far.

This really forces you to play the game like intended, cautiously and with skill, not just brute force, because that is the road to dying guaranteed.

The game itself is split into 6 main regions (and a couple bonus ones I will not go into) as well as random Twilight Missions.

The Twilight missions are like Nioh on steroids, levels have about 2x-3x the enemies of regular level, and the creatures here are HARD, double or more the HP and strength. You will die here, and die often.

There are 9 in total, and only 2 are ever available at one time, they reset to a different level every day at 11pm est I believe.

This makes getting them for the trophy a bit of a pain, as the appear and change randomly, you may have to wait days or even week to see all of them come up.

But in all fairness, you will be playing this game for likely weeks as it is, so they should all appear in that time frame.

Visuals and sound is top notch in Nioh as well, with lots of small details that really sell the environments, small fires burning, birds picking corpses clean, everything is meticulously designed.

Audio is top notch too, with lots of subtle sounds giving you an idea of where enemies are located and hiding.

There is also a heavy crafting component to the game in the way of a blacksmith shop. Where items, armor and weapons can all be crafted, merged to make better stats, de-synthed for materials, and created anew.

The loots system is not so dissimilar from Destiny or Diablo, with random loot drops from chests. monsters and the like.

All and all Nioh scratches a real itch that is missing, good Ninja / Samurai games, since the departure of Ninja Gaiden and Onimusha years ago, it is refreshing to see Nioh come along and completely fill that niche and take it to the next level.

Here’s to hoping it is the first in many sequels, because even after 68hrs I am looking forward to more!

A superb game, and a complete 10/10.